So today was going to be another busy day... On the agenda.... Passports!
We headed out at 8:15 this morning so we could go pick up the girls and make a trip to the International Passport Office. This will be one of the very few times, if ever, that the girls have actually left the premises of the orphanage. We arrived around 9am and they were bundled from top to bottom with nothing showing except their eyes, cheeks and chins. And off we went!
Both of them did exceptionally well in the car. Lindsay sat so still and was taking it in. Shawna sat in my lap while quietly observing. When we were at the office Lindsay was still her wiggly self, but she was quite intrigued looking out the big window and watching the cars and people go by. Getting her to sit still for a picture was a trick, but the lady managed to get a photo that would be acceptable.
Our facilitator has been so efficient in getting all the paperwork ready so that we have very little to do when we get to all these different offices. It took probably about 45 minutes and we had taken photos, signed applications and headed out the door. After that, we headed to a photo shop to take the photos we will need for their travel visas at the US Embassy. So two more things, marked off the To Do list.
We didn't get any pictures on this outing today since both of had our arms full with our little girls. There were not extra hands for the camera!
We got the girls back to the orphanage in time for lunch and we had our hugs and kisses and headed off for more stuff. Our facilitator was able to complete all of the forms, except for the signatures, that will be needed to sign them out of there forever. Oh, that day is coming so very soon!
We were able to meet with the Head Doctor for a few minutes before we left today. He's a nice man and he told us that he was very happy that we had adopted these girls and that they would have a future full of opportunity with us. We had thanked them for caring for the girls, and for keeping them until we could get there. We also shared that we could tell that many of the staff do care about these children. We shared pictures of our children at home, especially those of our son with Down syndrome. He said that their future here was one of very little hope, since the next step for them was to be moved to an adult mental institution. (This would be a facility that would house girls from the ages of 7-45 years of age.) There would be nothing there for them. He asked if we would please share pictures of the girls after they are home. We promised that we would.
While an orphanage is not an ideal place for a child, they have done what they can with the facilities and limited funds that they have. They work with some medical teams from the US to learn about some therapies and approaches they can use with their children here. And as they are able, they try to implement some of these approaches. It will still take a while, but they are trying to make it better. But it takes time and education and advocacy to make it happen. There are still walls in hearts and minds that need to be chipped away so that they can see the possibilities in these children. But little by little, it can happen.
I have to confess that the hardest part of this journey is seeing the precious faces of the children that will remain at this baby house, or will be moved to an institution in a matter of time. My heart breaks when I think of this. There are several in this little pink house that have captured our hearts. Oh, how I wish we could just plop down in the middle of the room and visit with all of them, every day! Some children are available for adoption, but most are not. I'm praying that doors of opportunity will open up for these kids.
We plan to visit the girls again on Friday. We are pretty much done with paperwork now and we're just waiting for the passports to be ready. We're told that they should be here on Tuesday. When they are ready, we'll head to the Embassy to begin the next step to come home.
Prayer Request: Would you pray that if it's possible, the passports would be ready on Monday? If they were ready Friday, that would be an amazing miracle!
Off to bed now!